(Family Features) From backyard barbecues and family picnics to a bright addition to seasonal recipes, sweet cherries not only provide a boost of flavor but also pack a punch when it comes to nutrition, helping keep you and your family healthy during busy summer months.
Cherries can help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure as well as relieve stress and gout, and can improve sleep quality.
The perfect time to take advantage of the goodness of Northwest-grown sweet cherries is through August. Eat fresh cherries straight out of hand as a snack, bake them into a pie or pair with ice cream for a sweet summertime treat.
The rich fruitiness of sweet cherries helps blunt the sharp edge of dried fruit in a quick and easy Cherry Sauce recipe. Low in sugar and versatile, this sauce can be used as a base ingredient for cocktails, a glaze for meats, a spread for sandwiches, a topping for yogurt and more. Add some ginger or orange peel to complement your menu and you may have a new, nutritious summer favorite. Or, for a sweet, simple snack, use cherries to make an appetizer like Cherry Bruschetta.
Find more recipes and ways to use cherries at nwcherries.com.
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 4 cups fresh Northwest-grown sweet cherries
- 4 cups dried cranberries
- 4 peels (2 inches each) fresh ginger (optional)
- 3 tablespoons citrus zest (optional)
- black pepper (optional)
- fresh herbs (optional)
- raspberries (optional)
- In medium saucepot, add water, syrup and sweet cherries. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally and more frequently as sauce begins to form.
- Add cranberries; continue stirring. Once reduced, remove from heat and add fresh ginger, citrus zest, black pepper, fresh herbs and raspberries, if desired.
- Cool 30 minutes-1 hour before transferring to wider, shallow pan for speed cooling.
- Once cooled, store refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 weeks.
- 18 slices (1/2-inch thick) small baguette-style bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup diced yellow sweet pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Arrange baguette slices on cookie sheet and toast one side 5 minutes. Turn slices, brush with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake 5 minutes.
- Combine cherries, cilantro, sweet pepper, green onions, lime juice, lime peel, garlic salt, pepper and remaining olive oil; mix well.
- Top each baguette with thin slice cheese, 1 tablespoon cherry mixture and sprinkle of basil. Serve warm or cold.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Cherry Sauce)
Photo courtesy of Northwest Cherry Growers (Cherry Bruschetta)